When the New York Post decided to combine its editorial opposition to the Obama Administration stimulus bill with an unrelated news story about a pet chimpanzee mauling its owner, no one laughed. When the Post's editorial staff followed up with more racism couched as an "apology" the NJ-based People's Organization for Progress decided enough was enough.
The suggestion that folks were either "too thin-skinned" or "too stupid" to get the joke was itself an extension of the earlier racism, POP decided at our weekly general membership meeting on February 19. On Saturday, February 21, a picket line at the intersection of Broad and Market Streets in Newark publicly called the Post out on their racism (see Star Ledger article, Newark group Boycotts N.Y. Post, by Chanta L. Jackson with photos by POP member Christian E. Gales for additional coverage).
"Shut it down! Boycott the Post!!! Boycott Racism!!!" People's Organization for Progress members and supporters chanted at the intersection that is the heart of Newark's downtown shopping district. As POP stalwarts distributed leaflets to shoppers getting off buses, the popular sentiment was probably best represented by questions about how a major newspaper could get away with a cartoon advocating assassinating the president, as well as calls to defend Barack Obama.
POP's Saturday picket in Newark follows the Thursday demonstration at the New York Post's main offices on Sixth Avenue in Manhattan, called by New York City Councilman Charles Barron, and endorsed by Rev. Al Sharpton of the National Action Network, NYC, State Senator Bill Perkins, State Assemblywoman Inez Barron, Viola Plummer of the Women for Obama, Monica Moorehead of the International Action Center, and representatives of the Committee to Eliminate Media Offensive To African People (CEMOTAP), the December 12th Movement, NAACP-Jamaica Queens, Harriet Tubman Collective, Black Men's Movement, and many others.
This struggle demands further attention as many radicals, revolutionary nationalists, and anti-racist agitators find ourselves in the unique position and novel situation of defending a U.S. president.